How We Do – Sleeping
This is almost a comical topic for me to write about. Our sleep is SO BAD right now you guys. We’ve gone through a few different cycles with sleep so let’s start back from the very beginning…..
Gavin was born at 3:48 pm on October 9, 2018. I had gone into labor the night prior around 10:00 pm, so needless to say that Chris and I got zero sleep that night. After laboring for 18 hours with nothing to eat or drink and entertaining visitors in the hospital that evening, you can imagine how thankful I was that Gavin slept the entire first night in the hospital except for one feeding at 11:00 pm. Hallelujah.
We slept 0 hours. Gavin was up about every 30 minutes to eat.
Gavin was in the NICU. The nurses were angels and found Chris and I a separate room to sleep in since we weren’t technically supposed to stay overnight, but I refused to leave. One nurse who was an extra special angel sent me to bed each night at 8:00 pm and came to wake me up every 3 hours to nurse Gavin. Other than that, she took care of him in the night whenever he fussed or needed a diaper change.
Oh my. Easily the worst night we ever had, haha. Chris and I were absolutely terrified to be home with Gavin on our own and had no clue what we were doing. Naively, we “just went to bed” around 9:00 pm. That was an actual joke. Gavin came home from the hospital with a light blanket to help with his jaundice. Said blanket was attached to the wall on a 2-foot cord, and he had to be under it 24/7. So we couldn’t walk around with him or anything like that, and he had to be in a special outfit and swaddle that allowed it to be plugged in. We were up with him all night long.
At the advice of a friend of mine that had a baby two weeks before me, we started to take the night in shifts and utilized the Rock n’ Play. Game changers. I would go to bed around 7:30pm and Chris would keep Gavin in the other room. He would bring him to me when he had to nurse, but kept him occupied other than that until around 12:00/1:00am. Then we would switch places and he would come get a block of sleep and I would keep Gavin the rest of the night. At least then we were each getting a solid block of sleep (but looking back on it I totally wasn’t since I was nursing every 2 hours, but whatever – felt like it at the time!) and getting to sleep when he slept on top of that. Also, the Rock n’ Play is the best EVER for newborns. Sure, it’s not AAP approved, but I say oh well to that. We were comfortable using it, and it allowed all three of us to get at least a little sleep, which is SO important.
Long story short our cats got fleas really bad and infested our house, so we went to live with my parents for a month while our house got exterminated. This is not a joke. We got into a REAL good sleep rhythm here because of two reasons: one, my mom is a star and put Gavin to bed every night and two, I just think this was Gavin’s best month of sleeping for whatever reason that is developmentally. During this time I was still going to bed at 7:30 (party animal), but by then I had started pumping so my mom was giving him a bottle around 9:00 and he was sleeping pretty much until 2:00 or 3:00! Chris got to sleep basically all night, and I was getting 6 or 7 hour stretches and then some, so we were happy campers.
We came home…..and we were terrified. We thought everything was going to change since we were in a new environment, but to our surprise things pretty much stayed the same! No big sleep changes during this time.
Weeks 13-15 (Gavin is currently almost 16 weeks old):
Jesus take the wheel. We are in a BAD spot. I’m chalking it up to the 4-month sleep regression, but who knows if that’s the culprit or not. This pattern has been going on for about two weeks now, and here is what a typical night looks like for us right now:
6:00pm: We start Gavin’s bedtime routine (bath, lotion, diaper, jammies, book, sound machine, swaddle, sing, rock, bed).
7:00pm: Gavin is laid down in his crib dead asleep, because God forbid we try to put him in there when he is even slightly awake. He will scream.
7:35pm: Gavin wakes up. Chris tries to rock him back to sleep and put him in the crib. He always goes back to sleep, but never lasts in the crib again.
8:00pm-10:30pm: Chris holds Gavin while he sleeps and watches a movie on the couch. I go to bed (we still aren’t sleeping in the same room).
10:30pm: Chris gives Gavin a bottle of pumped milk and brings him into my bedroom and puts him in the bassinet.
11:00pm-1:15am: Gavin sleeps in the bassinet. Is it pathetic that 2 hours and 15 minutes feels like a miracle? Although sometimes he wakes up about midnight and needs to be held until he eats.
1:15am: I nurse Gavin.
1:45am: If I am lucky, I am able to put him back in the bassinet. If not, he sleeps in bed with me the rest of the night. While he is sleeping with me he tries to wake up about every 45 minutes when the paci falls out, so I have to put it back in and pat his butt until he falls back asleep.
4:30am: I nurse Gavin. Hopefully he goes right back to sleep. Sometimes he tries to pretend like he’s up for the day and ready to party. I am not here for it.
6:00am: Gavin starts trying to wake up. I try to get him to sleep until at least 7. Sometimes it works, more than often it doesn’t.
Sooooooo yeah. It sucks. I feel like a zombie. And I miss my husband. We have to sleep in separate rooms, because Chris needs to get sleep for work and at least right now he’s getting to sleep from like 11:00pm – 5:30am (I am so jealous) when he gets up for work, but I just wish we could be in the same room again. And I hopefully get a stretch of sleep from like 8:30pm – 1:15am, but usually I don’t. And then the rest of the night I am basically awake every 45 minutes or so.
It’s a hot mess. I plan on asking our pediatrician about sleep training at our 4-month appointment in a few weeks, because we are just desperate for something to change. I follow Taking Cara Babies and The Peaceful Sleeper on Instagram and have been trying to incorporate a lot of their tips into what we do, but Gavin is just not having it. He has zero ability to fall asleep independently and/or self-soothe and really just wants to sleep on my chest all night. Truly, I would have no problem with this if he just slept, but he is so squirmy and all over the place. We are all so darn tired.
From what I have learned about baby sleep, I know that he is overtired, but I just don’t know how to change that. We watch his wake windows (currently 75-100ish minutes and 2 hours before bed), have a bedtime routine, use blackout curtains and a white noise machine, swaddle him, and everything else you’re supposed to do. The kid just doesn’t want to sleep. He legit screams every time we go in the nursery, because he knows what’s coming. I also totally think he’s a mama’s boy and just doesn’t ever want me to leave him. I think if I held him all day and let him sleep on my chest all night he would be the happiest kid in the world.
And then naps are a whole other story! If we are lucky, we get a 45 minute nap out of him. But the first 10-15 minutes of that are rocking him to make sure he is really asleep, so really 30 minutes max in the crib. Once in a beautiful blue moon we can rock him back to sleep after he wakes up, but typically his naps are 38 minutes on the nose. No joke. Fun stuff. Four naps like that a day. I feel like all we do is wait for nap time or bedtime and rock him. It’s such a tough cycle we’re in right now.
I know that I am going to have a tough time sleep training him and hearing him cry, but it needs to be done. We plan to do the intermittent cry it out method where we get him super drowsy, put him in the crib and then come back at intervals to soothe him until he eventually falls asleep (probably 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 minutes). I am not even doing this for purely selfish reasons either! Gavin NEEDS to sleep. He is so clearly tired almost all of the time that his play time isn’t even fun right now because he’s so fussy. It’s really rough. And maybe one day everything will change and it will just “click” for him like you sometimes hear of happening, but I just don’t see that happening anytime soon.
So anyway, I have nothing concrete to offer on the topic of baby sleep right now, because we have not found anything to work for us at this point. I hope and pray to revisit this topic in a month or so and see some progress? Fingers crossed for us….